photo: Oscar Mercado (Springfield Cardinals FANatic)
St. Louis Cardinals press release
The St. Louis Cardinals announced this afternoon that they have acquired minor league outfielders Conner Capel and Jhon Torres from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for Memphis (AAA) outfielder Oscar Mercado.
Capel, 21, a left-handed hitting centerfielder, was batting .261 with 6 home runs, 44 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 89 games for Lynchburg (A) this season, earning Carolina League All-Star honors. The 6-1, 185-pound Katy, Texas native was a 5th round draft selection by the Indians in 2016. He’s the son of former Major League pitcher Mike Capel.
Torres, 18, has appeared in 27 games for the Arizona Rookie League Indians this season, compiling a .273 batting mark with 4 HR’s and 16 RBI. The 6-4, 200-pound right-handed hitting Torres is a native of Sincelejo, Colombia.
Mercado, 23, was batting .285 with 8 HR’s and 42 RBI with 31 stolen bases for Memphis. He was the Cardinals 2nd round draft selection in 2013.
Derek Shore’s commentary
On Tuesday, the Cardinals traded from their organizational strength, dealing Mercado to the Indians to help address a weakness in the system – left-handed bats.
For Mercado, he was known mostly as an all-glove no-bat shortstop for four seasons and lost most of his prospect status as a result. A year later, he converted to the outfield in late 2016 and took off with the bat in 2017, hitting .287/.321/.428 last season in Double-A and .285/.351/.408 this year in Triple-A, resurrecting himself as a prospect.
From one of the finest and productive outfielders in the Texas League a year ago, Mercado adjusted well to Triple-A where his speed continued to stand out and his plate discipline improved. This trade should also speak to the emergence of TCN’s No. 31 prospect Lane Thomas, who has intrigued many scouts. He has legit power and can play center field, if needed.
Mercado was assigned to the Indians’ Triple-A Colombus club.
On the Cardinals’ end of the trade, Capel entered this year as Baseball America’s No. 15 prospect in the Indians’ system. While he has put together solid production in the lower levels, scouts question his exact profile as a prospect. He has played mostly center field this season after spending most of 2017 in right. Capel also doesn’t have the plus speed best-suited for up-the-middle, though if he can tap into his left-handed power like he did in 2017, he would fit well in right.
Capel has been assigned to High-A Palm Beach.
The Indians signed Torres out of Colombia in 2016, and he made his U.S. debut in the Arizona League this year. A 6-foot-4, 199 pounder, is described as a physically strong specimen with raw power that he has shown off. Torres has mostly played right field in pro ball, and that’s where he profiles best, according to reports.
Torres will report to the Gulf Coast League Cardinals.
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